The aim of this article is to address the difficulties that teachers face when teaching Computational Thinking and using Scratch in the classroom.
To find out more about why teachers have these difficulties and to reinforce the ideas that teachers should be able to improve their CT knowledge and learn how to teach Scratch, the University of Coimbra developed a distance e-learning course. The course was a synchronous and asynchronous e-learning course using Moodle as a Learning Management System. The course had three outcomes that were researched. Starting with Theme 1, Fundamentals and principles of CT, Theme 2: Areas of exploration of CT in school with Scratch and lastly Theme 3: Scratch and applications build in Scratch with a final project that would consist of building a Scratch application that could be an interactive story, an animation, an educational game or a version combining all of the theses.
The 9 trainees in this research were mostly women, and teachers, with some of them working in special education. The trainees were given a series of 9 activities and with a tool called Dr. Scratch (Moreno-Le_on et al., 2015), measuring certain aspects of learning, it was observed learning did not occur to the same degree in all participants.
By the end of the e-learning course, the participants were asked to provide feedback on the usability of the e-learning platform; content and activities; bibliography and multimedia resources; pedagogical support; interpersonal relationships; expectations and evolution of knowledge; recommendations; strong and weak points. The greatest feedback was given to the support and competence of the technical-pedagogical support but all the other aspect of the e-learning course was well received. Whereas a tight schedule was seen as a week point. Further recommendations were to present content more clearly, to offer more supporting materials, reduce the number and the complexity of the projects and to add more screenshots and to integrate explanatory videos.
This experience not only showed that teachers can improve their knowledge of Computational Thinking and Scratch via e-learning but also allowed teachers to collect ideas of useful products that they can use in their classrooms. As with all learning, not every participant will learn at the same level and some changes will need to be made in areas that received weak satisfaction.
Marcelino, M. J., Pessoa, T., Vieira, C., Salvador, T., & Mendes, A. J. (2018, March). Learning Computational Thinking and scratch at distance. Retrieved from https://brandonu-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_elsevier_sdoi_10_1016_j_chb_2017_09_025&context=PC&vid=01BRA&lang=en_US&search_scope=Blended&adaptor=primo_central_multiple_fe&tab=blended&query=any,contains,Learning%20Computational%20Thinking%20and%20scratch%20at%20distance.%20&mode=Basic